James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Tax Confession

I'm not a fan of public schools, but I agree that taxes, to the degree they are collected, should be from land value and should stay in the local community. Lindy Davies writes:

I will write a check -- what, to my way of thinking, is a VERY substantial check -- to the IRS in a few days, and I will send it off, because I don't want to risk my home, my kids' education and my future contributions to peace and justice, whatever they may be. But I will endeavor, in the future, to find ways to give much less to the war machine.

Meanwhile, my wife has a thankless job: representing our not-so-well-off community on the local School Board. A huge wrangle over school budgets and property taxes is underway here, and -- frankly -- I fail to grasp it.

Today I took our car -- a five year old Toyota -- to the shop to get over $1,000 worth of suspension repairs created, in large part, by the ill-maintained local roads on which we must travel.

It seems insane to me. We are all willing to send off thousands of dollars every year to the idiots in Washington. (Even our FICA payments may or MAY NOT end up ever coming back to us as retirees!) But there is a lively -- irate -- passionate -- property tax revolt! Going on in Maine and umpteen other states! HELLO?

Are people unaware that quality schools and well-maintained roads DIRECTLY BENEFIT LAND OWNERS? Have people never learned that taxes that fall on land value, UNLIKE ANY OTHER TAX, are direct fees for services rendered to the owners of land?

I wish I could see some viable alternative option to the burden of my Federal tax liability. But I am glad to pay my property tax -- and I would be even gladder to do so if it were applied to my land only, and not the hard-won improvements (shingles, windows, porches) that I built myself. With my own hands. Supporting local businesses.

Please, please, charge me the full value of my land's appreciation in price. That's OK by me. But these other taxes have got to go.

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